Kimi Brownkawa

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since Jul 16, 2019
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foraging composting toilet homestead
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Recent posts by Kimi Brownkawa

I was told to post to this forum with questions about my account details... are these messages posted publicly or only viewable by staff?  I don't want to post my account details & related questions publicly.
Wow, I just saw this today -- we are about 5 months behind you!  We are planning to pick up our greenhouse kit in Alliance mid-September.  We hope to get the lid on before winter sets in here in the high desert.

Your work looks amazing!  It's really coming together.  It sounds like you have other big projects going on at the same time -- must be overwhelming!

How did the tube trench go?  I saw the cave-in photo.  Our land is pretty sandy, and that's the scariest part of the project for me.  I can't imagine a huge long 8' deep trench having any integrity here (northern NM @7200' below the face of a mesa).  I was even wondering if we could lay the tubes out parallel to where the trench will be, have the excavator dig, follow right behind pushing the tubes in, and back fill pretty quickly...

Also, can the tubes be trenched before the structure is built?  We will be hiring the excavator work so will likely do all the digging at once.

It looks like your floor is wider than most?  Was that just a design/production decision?  Are you planning on more trees and less raised bed area?  Or did I misjudge that in the photos?

All the best to you!  We'll be watching for updates!
1 year ago
We just got our (state-required) engineering plans for our tire bale build!  We are hoping to start in the next couple months if everything comes together.  There is a chance this will be the first tire bale house in New Mexico, I believe...

It seems there were a flurry of tire bale buildings built in CO, and then... nothing... I guess with the sad passing of Mike Shealy?

Anyone know of any more recent tire bale builds?

And how are those 4-10 year old tire bale houses holding up?

We are excited and nervous; all cards in the air at the moment it seems (recently retired & relocated; living in a popup on a desert mesa)
BrownKawa Farmstead
1 year ago

Beth Wilder wrote:The study also mentions garlic, which I know from experience can be pretty difficult to tolerate raw. When I feel a cold coming on, I either eat the garlic cloves from other ferments like escabeche or a little fermented Moroccan garlic paste and I've been meaning to try whole garlic fermented in honey.

We made our first black garlic just before moving... bad timing since it took longer than we expected so we couldn't get it perfectly.  But have you tried black garlic?  Done well, it is not at all like garlic but has the same health properties... each clove is like a fruity black gumdrop.  Delicious!

We did like 10 cloves in 2 layers.  The top layer (that we checked periodically) was underdone (brown, not black, and still a little harsh and crunchy, but not unpleasant, and starting to get fruity).  The bottom layer was overdone (nicely black but a little over-dried... some cloves were very nice and almost like we'd wish, others were like a nicely flavored black-garlic-jerky).  

I'm not sure the chemistry/biology of it... I see some call it fermented black garlic and other sites say it's not fermented because you don't add a starter.  Of course there are many ferments that don't require you add a starter, so I am not sure if that's accurate.  I don't care whether it's "fermented" or not, but it's delicious and healthy!

Next time we try it, we'll rotate the cloves periodically.  (It takes weeks and we are in a temperature-uncontrollable living situation at the moment, so I don't know when that next time will be.)
1 year ago
Any experience with using good bacteria in a hot tub?

We have recently moved to our "retirement farmstead" in New Mexico, and our first retirement home is our pop-up camper and a couple of screen shelters.

We've been using a bokashi-style bucket for composting food waste (just a 5-gal bucket with food scraps including lots of coffee grounds, and pelleted compost starter).  After 3 weeks, that is still just pleasantly sour; not rotten.
We've been using a similar solution for a composting toilet (kept separately of course), except that we pre-ferment a separate bucket of moist bran with the compost starter, and then toss in a scoop of the fermented bran every time we use the toilet (*most* of the pee just goes outside rather than in the bucket).  Similarly sour/yeasty; not unpleasant.

Now we got a horse trough for a soaking tub.  We'll wash before getting in, but don't have any illusions that soaking when clean will keep the water from getting funky.  Does it make sense to toss some of the composting pellets into the bath water?  We are in a very dry (high desert) area, and would like to use the same tubful of water as long as possible.  And of course we are not interested in putting in chemicals to keep it unfunky.

It's a 75-gal tub (shorter and deeper than a standard bathtub) so is not a huge amount of water (not like a 6-person hot tub or anything).  I suppose maybe we'd only fill it with 40 gallons and displace the rest?  Maybe another strategy is to use it until we are ready to do laundry and then do laundry with that grey water, scrub the tub, and refill?

I'm obviously ignorant about soaking tubs -- never had a hot tub.  I did use soaking tubs in Japan, but there lots of people used the individual-sized tub and it was emptied and scrubbed every 2nd day.

I am curious to hear how others approach bathtubs in a low-water situation.
1 year ago

Sebastian Köln wrote:Yes. The thermostat has an adjustment screw. I was lucky enough that I could turn it far enough to make it a fridge.

I would like more info on this... by far the easiest-sounding solution!  Do all chest freezers have an adjustment screw on the thermostat?  How common is it for the low end of the range to be in fridge territory?  Anyone have any comment on brands or types that lend themselves best to this sort of tweaking?
1 year ago